The International Watch and Jewelry Guild has partnered with The Watch Dealers Network to create an e-commerce B2B network specializing in watches. It will allow watch dealers and retailers a place on the Web to buy and sell vintage and new watches within an international network. Only those in the trade will be able to access the site.
“Finally both industries will know exactly where to find each other with no delay,” said B. Bullock, president of the IWJG, and head of Bullock Estate & Diamond Brokers of Houston. “The networks ability to connect with each other instantly will benefit everyone.”
The Watch Dealers Network (www.TheWDN.com) went online Sunday. The site is only available to the trade. It will include real time, interactive buying and selling channels, eliminating the delay between looking for a watch and the actual response. It includes a 9,000-watch reference database, SMS text for cell phone contact, dealer profiles with references, escrow services, and live industry news. In addition, those in the network will have access to a calculator from U.S Customs and FED EX that will assist importers and exporters in figuring their duty rates prior to shipping.
Avi Soffer, a wholesale watch dealer who founded The WDN, said the site has been in development more than two years and cost $1 million. But the need for an interactive Web-based system was important.
“The problem has been occurring for the last couple years. The watch dealer has been building an inventory, and the jeweler can’t find watches readily enough. There’s a huge disconnect,” Soffer told JCK. “It’s a shame because at the end of the day, the retailer can’t find the watch and the customer is less than thrilled. Worst of all, the customer overpays in the retail channel. We had to step up and we spent a lot of money and time to do it right.”
He compares using the Web site to trading stocks on Wall Street.
“It is immediate and very proactive,” said Soffer. “Fulfillment delays cost the dealers millions in otherwise profitable transactions. The stock is available. The jeweler just needs to know where to find it when they need it.”
For retailers IWJG membership is optional, Soffer told JCK. However, retailers will have to be qualified through tax identification, references, and other requirements.
Soffer said the Web site could not have happened without IWJG involvement. With more than 5,000 members in 52 countries, IWJG is world’s leading professional watch dealers organization. The Guild holds 12 to 14 members-only trade shows per year at undisclosed locations. Members also have access to newsletters and online pricelists.
“IWGJ is the biggest and the best,” Soffer said.
He also told JCK that all the watch brands are on board, precisely because it is closed network and IWJG is a partner.
“You can deal with any watch on this network,” he said. “The difference here is that it is a closed network to the trade. You have to apply.”
He added, “We’ve done a few preliminary numbers. Jewelers could sell five to seven watches a week. That’s a paycheck. A lot of them have been missing out on it.”